2020 Feb – Wuhan Virus

This letter was submitted to the Straits Times Forum Page on 3 February 2020, but they declined to publish it.

Are we reaching the point where the problems caused by eating animal-based foods outweigh the benefits? The benefits of food from animals are many, including nutrition, taste, convenience and familiarity.

Unfortunately, the problems with animal-based foods are also many and growing. The current coronavirus outbreak is just the latest example. While the exact origins of this pandemic are not entirely clear, it does appear to be one more deadly disease – along with H5N1 bird flu , H1N1swine flu  and others – that may have jumped to humans from the animals whom we use for food.

The threat these viruses pose to our health and our economic well-being represent but one of the dangers associated with our consumption of animal-based foods. Other dangers include the plastics found in foods from marine animals and the antibiotics in other farmed animals.

Farm Chickens Farm Pigs1

Furthermore, the role of animal agriculture in the worsening climate crisis is widely known peak-meat-climate-crisis-livestock-meat-dairy ; EP-12-clothes-consumption-and-the-climate-crisis, as is the link between chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and consumption of foods from animals 

Fortunately, at the same time that our awareness grows of the problems associated with food from animals, the taste and convenience of food from plants is improving, as is our awareness that plant-based diets can provide all the nutrition necessary for peak performance in athletic and other endeavours. Maybe it is time for us to familiarise ourselves with our many delicious plant-based food options, some of which are developed here in Singapore.